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Doctor Who Companion Chronicles: Ringpullworld by Paul Magrs

01/12/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who Companion Chronicles: Ringpullworld in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who Companion Chronicles: Ringpullworld in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 60 minute CD with extras. Price: CD: 8.99 (UK), download: 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-428-3) cast: Mark Strickson and Alex Lowe.

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A singular and complex character, Turlough has perhaps not been fully explored previously on the TV series. In a rare appearance, Mark Strickson wings his way from New Zealand and an alternative career to do his first 'Companion Chronicle'.

Turlough is in a bit of a dilemma. Actually, he's been canned along with the Doctor and Tegan. Pocket universes are one thing but being inside a can has got to have left them feeling...well, a little flat. Even Tegan is not her usual bubbly self.

The three are in a bit of a fix. They are not alone. Having visited a little moon called Random Jottings, the third moon of Verbatim Six, they have picked up some parasites. These aren't the kind you can apply lotion to. These creatures are Novelisers, the worst kind of bloodsucker. They will recount the adventures of the three and gradually suck the life out of them. Not only that but on finding a mysterious artefact looking a lot like a can of beans, they are sucked into a universe contained within it, a prison for a species determined to escape.

Trapped in the pocket universe, Turlough determines to make a break for freedom. He steals a ship to break through the ring pull. But the Noveliser can see the possible futures and Turlough might not like the outcome.

This is a quirky story told in different tenses and alternating between Turlough and the parasite Huxley. He gives it a name of one of his old school chums, Hippo, and they become quite pally. The Noveliser can see just how alien Turlough is. The way the story is set up is a good variation on the Companion Chronicle format and once again proves how Big Finish don't just take the easy option when it comes to presenting the narrative. Turlough is a more introspective character now. He's contemplating how much he's changed since knowing the Doctor. Considering he was originally an agent of the Black Guardian who was supposed to kill the Doctor, this is a major adjustment. A partly reflective piece, Ringpullworld tries to bring us up to speed with who Turlough is or might be after spending some time with the Doctor. He's in awe of him but not blind to the Doctor's blundering and meddling.

I like the way the story has been addressed this way. Putting Turlough in the Hell of having his thoughts and actions spoken about as he does them makes him determined to tell his own story his own way. If you like deconstructed narrative this is a great way to explore and the writers love their in-jokes, too. It's a good yarn told in a variety of ways and the ending leaves the possibility of more Turlough in the future or less.

There's a nice interview with Mark Strickson which long term fans will appreciate. The extras include an interview with the writer, Paul Magrs. There are also some very cruel impersonations of Tegan included with added Peter Davison. You would think they were there. Overall, a good audio that also rewards more than one listen. If only there was a pocket universe to just go and listen to audios without life getting in the way.

Sue Davies

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